They had a good run for a while, what with Wolf Parade riding the post-Arcade Fire buzz to indie-rock stardom, Wolf Eyes gouging out the tympanums of anyone within earshot, and Wolfmother bringing back the white-guy afro at summer festivals the world over. But the days of the wolf are dunzo, as they say in Laguna Beach, and it's time for music fans to jump on the bandwagon of the bear. Bone up with this guide to the major players in rock's ursine revolution.
Grizzly Bear: Led by Edward Droste, Grizzly Bear's ethereal, melodic, and ultra lo-fi music is earning the Brooklyn quartet comparisons to indie softies like Sufjan (see CD review pg. 69, or see the band live at the Independent on Sept. 29). For your next mixtape: "Knife"
Teddybears: This one-time hardcore band from Sweden somehow recorded a dance-pop record (out Oct. 10) with cameos by everyone from disco queen Annie and Neneh Cherry to Iggy Pop and Mad Cobra, whose "Cobrastyle" was recently used on Entourage. For the mixtape: "Are You Feelin It (feat. Elephant Man)"
Minus the Bear: Last year this Seattle-based quirk-pop outfit released Menos el Oso, a record heavy on frenetic cymbal taps, angular guitars, and singer Jake Snider's speak-sing. If you dig the Velvet Teen, you'll probably like MTB (see 'em both at Bimbo's Nov. 15). For the mixtape: "Pachuca Sunrise"
If only Bear vs. Shark knew this renaissance was coming, maybe it would've thought twice about calling it quits last year. And if I were an enterprising Noah Lennox (aka Animal Collective's Panda Bear), I'd get to work on that next solo record right about now.
So what's the deeper meaning of the bear affair? Is it a Joseph Campbellish need to reconnect with humanity's primitive side? Is it Freudian regression, a hankering for Yogi, Pooh, Paddington, Fozzie, and other childhood friends? I'll leave that one to the head-shrinkers so I can get back to watching the blogs for the next big buzz in bruins. My fave online resource: Gorilla vs. Bear, natch.